The cost of going to court for a UK child custody order
How can OTS Solicitors help?
The children and family law team at OTS Solicitors can answer all your questions about children law and child custody and give advice on making a child arrangements order application. Call Angelique Holm at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form. Appointments are available through video conferencing, Skype or by telephone appointment.
What does a child custody court application cost?
No reputable family and children law solicitor will be able to tell you the cost of applying for a child custody order without first of all asking you some questions about your family circumstances and why you want to apply for a child arrangements order or the circumstances of why you are responding to an application for a child order brought by your ex-partner.
Questions have to be asked to find out:
- Whether a court order is necessary or whether there are options to resolve the child care issue that is in dispute without having to go to court
- Whether the court has jurisdiction to make a child arrangements order or other type of children order
- How complex the proceedings are likely to be and the potential number and length of court proceedings
- How likely it is that the court will make the type of child arrangements order that you are seeking.
Is a child custody or contact order necessary?
Many parents who are separating or getting divorced assume that they must get a child custody order for their child but that isn’t necessarily the case. Many families, with a bit of specialist and pragmatic legal advice, can reach a child custody and contact agreement without the need to apply to court for a child arrangements order.
Whether you need or should go to court for a child arrangements order will also depend on the age of your child or children. That is because the family court won't normally make a child arrangements order if your child is over the age of sixteen unless there are special circumstances, for example, your child has a disability and the court order is therefore justified.
It is important to give your children law solicitor as much information as possible so they can assess with you whether an order is necessary. For example, you should let your solicitor know if:
- There has been any domestic violence or abuse within the relationship. The abuse doesn’t have to have been physical or have to have involved your child
- There have been any threats to take your child overseas without your agreement
- Your ex-partner has failed to return your child on time or on dates agreed
- You are concerned about your ex-partner’s mental health and its impact on your child
- You are worried about your ex-partner’s ability to meet your child’s physical or emotional needs
- You are deadlocked over the best child custody and contact arrangements for your child
- Your ex-partner is refusing contact and you fear that there is parental alienation as the other parent is alienating your child against you.
This list isn’t exhaustive. There are lots of other reasons why a children court application may be necessary. It is therefore best to have a frank discussion with your children law solicitor about your concerns for your child and why you think a child court order may be needed. Your solicitor will want to work with you and do what is best for you and your child.
Does the court have jurisdiction to make a child arrangements order?
There is no point in applying for a UK child custody order if the English family court doesn’t have jurisdiction. Our specialist children solicitors work with many international families and therefore have substantial experience of jurisdiction disputes and advising on whether your child is habitually resident in England. For example, your child could be habitually resident in England even though neither parent is a British citizen or if both parents are in the UK on visas and subject to immigration controls.
How complex are the child custody proceedings likely to be?
Sometimes a parent will think that a child custody application will be very complicated but a specialist children solicitor may not think so. In other scenarios the family circumstances can make children court proceedings very complicated. For example if:
- There is a need for urgent temporary orders, such as to stop a child being taken abroad or to arrange temporary contact or custody orders pending the final hearing of the court application
- There are serious allegations of abuse that may require the listing of what is called a finding of fact hearing
- There is a dispute over court jurisdiction and the habitual residence of the child
- There are allegations of parental alienation or intractable hostility with a history of previously breached court orders.
There are of course other reasons why children court proceedings can be complicated. At the outset of some court applications it isn’t always possible to identify all the complex issues. For example, a grandparent may ask to be joined as a party to the court application or allegations of abuse (with numerous potential witnesses) may be made after the court application has been commenced.
Is it likely that the court will make the child arrangements order you are asking for?
Whilst no children law solicitor can guarantee the outcome of a court application for a child arrangements order an experienced children solicitor can talk to you about the likely prospects of securing the order that you are seeking and whether a court application is justified.
A children law solicitor can also discuss the alternatives to a court application, such as Family mediation or a round table meeting with lawyers present to try and thrash out an agreement.
Call OTS Solicitors
If you are worried about the arrangements for your child and want to get custody or contact it is best to discuss your concerns and court options with a specialist children law solicitor.
The family team at London based OTS Solicitors can talk to you about your family circumstances and, with that information, can discuss the cost of going to court for child custody or contact.
To speak to children law solicitor Angelique Holm or to a member of the family law team call us on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form. Appointments can be made via video conferencing, Skype or by telephone appointment.